From shy to shining 4-H'er

archive_import

By SUNNY LOCKWOOD

Mira Santillanes at 9 was shy painfully so and speech problems made her even more afraid to talk.

She had moved with her parents from Livermore to Murphys at that age in 1993. The petite, dark-haired girl didn't know anybody and wasn't eager to open conversations.

"I had a speech problem, and I was afraid to talk, because I thought I sounded dumb," she said this week, sipping tea at a restaurant.

She's 18 now double the age of the shy Calaveras newcomer.

Her shoulder-length dark hair is tucked gently behind her ears, which reveal two tiny pierced earrings. A guardian angel pendant hangs from her neck. Her brown eyes sparkle behind black-rimmed glasses.

She still has difficulty with "r" and "sh" sounds, but they no longer hold her back. "When I get too excited, I get tongue twisted, and people can't always understand me," she says, laughing at the image.

This Mira is not afraid to speak. She gives much of the credit to

4-H, and she actively promotes the organization to anyone who will listen.

Since joining the Murphys 4-H Club in 1995, the only child of George and Debbie Santillanes has served as treasurer, secretary, president and vice president. She has raised sheep, swine and beef and won honors for everything from her 4-H journals to her perfect attendance at meetings.

"4-H helped me overcome the fear of talking in front of people," she said. "I got tired of people asking, 'what did she say?' and worked at being more understandable. Over time, I improved through my public speaking."

Mira says 4-H also taught her responsibility. "It taught me not to be afraid to volunteer for something," she said.

And Mira has returned her energy in kind to 4-H.

Jennifer Mitchell, 4-H program coordinator for Calaveras County, said Mira is an All Star. That's the highest rank at the county level that a 4-H'er can earn. It's an honor similar to the Eagle rank in Boy Scouts.

11704365
The Union Democrat
This image is copyrighted.

Reach all of Sonora, Calaveras County, Tuolumne, Angels Camp, Twain Harte, & Jamestown with your items to sell.

Ads appear Online and in Print

View Classifieds Place an Ad

Connect with The Union Democrat

Union Democrat Newsstand

Saturday August 27, 2016

Read digital interactive editions of our publications

Read Today's Edition Take A Tour

More Publications by The Union Democrat

View All Publications
Sheriff’s Office responds to critical report

08/22/2016

The Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office has responded to a grand jury report ... more

Woman dies of injuries in Highway 120 accident

08/24/2016

The woman who spent Monday night pinned in an SUV after an ... more

Convicted murderer Thomas Hyatt to remain in prison

08/23/2016

Convicted murderer Thomas Hyatt won’t be getting out of prison anytime soon. ... more

Three rescued from wreck near Yosemite

08/23/2016

Three German tourists were rescued Tuesday from the scene of a crash ... more

Thunderstorms rolling in this week

08/22/2016

Thunderstorm activity is expected to continue today in the mountains of eastern ... more